My mother in law, Ma Dora, Dorothy Abrahams, died this week in Cape Town. I use the word ‘died’ reluctantly. On February 9th, this year she celebrated her 105th birthday. Albeit bedridden with loss of sight and hearing she was mentally sound and strong. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic our flight to Cape Town was cancelled. When I sat with her last year she explored my face with her hands and said – ‘Helena, is that you?’ It brought tears to my eyes. 



She has departed from our lives but has left the most beautiful tapestry woven with love and life and laughter. Her creation of a beautiful family is beyond compare spanning across a generation of children, grand-children, and great-grand-children. Sweet memories of this grand lady are now being shared via social media.

Telephones ring as all who knew her reach out to each other to commiserate. She may have been 105 years old but it doesn’t make the loss any less. God created an angel and sent her to earth.

He has now called her back stating her job is done. She has left us with a beautiful garden of flowers, that will bloom and flourish as long as her memory lives, and it will. She will never be forgotten. 



For the past few years when I’ve asked you what you wanted for your birthday. You always requested a pair of shoes. My darling Ma, considering you were bedridden I always wondered why? However, on your 105th birthday this year you did ask to go out for fish and chips and your family granted you that wish.

What a lady! I know you were getting tired and your only complaint to me was that you could no longer read your bible. I have so many sweet memories of you and I hope you have forgiven me for swearing at you. Your son Richard told me what to say to you in Afrikaans and lied about what it meant.

I was mortified while you remained as serene as ever and just smiled. Now, Ma, I want to give you a gift of the most beautiful pair of soft slippers, embroidered with your story, encrusted with the jewels of your wisdom, and intricately beaded with your faith and love and strong values. 



As we celebrate your life,

The golden memories are the crown upon your head,

Lustrous and bright and forever flourishing.

You wore the cloak of life with pride and honour,

Embroidered with your story,

Trials and tribulations,

Joys and sorrows, love, laughter, and tears,

All interwoven in a blaze of colours.

On your feet the softest slippers

Encrusted with the precious jewels of experience,

Intricately beaded with pearls of wisdom.

Now we smile at treasured memories,

Laugh at all those wonderful days you shared with us,

Celebrate your unique life and bright spirit.

Let your eyes fall upon the loved one’s around you

and see the love in their hearts,

The love you inspired through the generations.

You have not left us,

Your spirit remains and will guide us,

And your sweet smile is forever etched

in the tapestry of our lives.

©Helena Abrahams



When someone dies we use the words ‘lost’ and ‘passed away.’ We don’t say ‘died’ because that seems so final, and the truth is they will never die in our hearts or our minds. The day you passed away I walked for two hours thinking about you and thanking you for the most precious gift you ever gave me, your son, Richard.

This year we will celebrate forty years together. Thank you, Ma. Thank you for showing me the meaning of serenity. Thank you for showing me what generosity truly is. Thank you for sharing your amazing faith. Thank you for your love. I would like to share a special memory.

One particular day when I was visiting Ma, an emaciated man of indeterminate age knocked at the door asking for food. She made him a cheese sandwich and handed it to him on a plate, apologising that there was no meat left. To treat someone with kindness is a gift. To treat someone with such respect and honour is humanity in its purest form. It brought tears to my eyes.


You my dearest Ma, have a loving family spanning three generations. Your smile will be forever glimpsed. Your beautiful eyes will be mirrored. Your serenity will flow. Your faith will strengthen the family bonds. Your humility and generosity will colour the lives of all who knew and loved you. A special thank you to my lovely and dear sister in law, Eileen, who looked after Ma so well and created a loving home for her. You are a treasure and forever blessed.


Allow yourself to grieve,

Allow yourself to feel the pain of your loss,

Welcome the pain,

Then open your heart

to the healing touch of your inner spirit,

And your mother’s love which is still with you.


Allow yourself to remember,

And smile at the memories you created together,

And share them,

They are the story of your life,

The story of your love.


Remember, you are not alone,

The comforting arms of your family and friends

are stretched out wide,

Waiting to hold you.

©Helena Abrahams


Ma, you exited life as serenely as you lived it. Your love remains imprinted on our hearts and minds. Your beauty will forever shine in the faces of your children, your grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. What sweet and treasured memories you have left us. 


Still my mind,

And gently reach out to You.

I will sit quietly at your feet,

And all that I ask of You

Is that I can be there,

Close to You,

Totally at peace,

With You,

In You,

A part of You.

©Helena Abrahams

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share



  1. Wow! How beautifully written!!!!
    I remember her birthday this year… it brought tears to my eyes. This beautiful piece you wrote made me laugh and cry at the same time. The part where you swore at her!!! Uncle Richard is the funniest person I know!!! He let u swear in afrikaans without u knowing🤣🤣🤣. And ma being the beautiful person she is, would have just smiled knowing he did that !

    • Richard is a scream and has me in fits of laughter. Not a bad complaint. Ma Dora would clip him around the ear if he was out of line. He was 60 years old. She was special. Thanks for the lovely comments.

  2. This is beautiful writing Helena, what a lovely tribute to Ma Dora & Richard. Looks like a very special soul has left our earth & gifted the spirit world. Thanks so much to you both for sharing! I esp loved the part where you said Ma Dora gave you the most precious gift… Richard… Gold! Love you both and love to your wonderful Ma & all your family xO 🤗

    • She was a very special Soul – Blessed to have had her as a mother in law

  3. Apologies Helena only seeing your post now! Sincere sympathy on the passing of your much loved mother in law. You composed a beautiful tribute. She sounded like a very inspiring, special lady.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *